WASHINGTON — Yesterday, the last group of Afghan nationals temporarily housed at Camp Atterbury, Indiana as part of Operation Allies Welcome (OAW) departed the base. Camp Atterbury, Indiana is the fifth of eight Department of Defense (DOD) installations supporting the resettlement of Afghan nationals, also known as “safe havens,” to complete operations. To date, more than 66,000 Afghan evacuees have been resettled in communities across the country. These resettlement efforts are led by the Department of State in close coordination with more than 290 local resettlement affiliates.
“As operations at Camp Atterbury come to an end, we are grateful for the partnerships that state and local leaders, the Indiana National Guard, non-profit organizations, and Hoosiers across the state have forged with our team as we helped our Afghan allies through the resettlement process,” said Robert J. Fenton, Jr., Senior Response Official for Operation Allies Welcome. “Over the last five months, through a whole-of-society effort, Operation Allies Welcome has helped more than 66,000 Afghan evacuees begin their new lives in America.”
DOD continues to provide temporary housing facilities for the remaining approximately 9,000 vulnerable Afghans who are in the process of completing their resettlement while at the following three military installations: Fort McCoy, Wisconsin; Fort Pickett, Virginia; and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. While on these installations, Afghan evacuees have access to a range of services, including medical care and resettlement services, and they can apply for work authorization.
“I am incredibly proud of the military men and women and the entire interagency team who enabled the resettlement of approximately 7,200 Afghan guests who temporarily resided at Task Force Atterbury,” said Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command. “Over the past five months, our service members at this and seven other military installations provided essential support to Operation Allies Welcome, ensuring Afghan nationals had what they needed while they completed resettlement requirements and prepared to transition to their new communities across America. As Task Force Atterbury concludes its support to this operation, our service members and the entire team should take pride in the professionalism, dedication, and empathy they demonstrated throughout the mission.”
As of January 27, the U.S. has welcomed more than 76,000 Afghans to the United States through Operation Allies Welcome, providing them with support and assistance as they begin their new lives in America – and we are prepared to welcome additional qualifying Afghans over the coming weeks and months. Prior to entering the United States, Afghan evacuees must successfully complete a rigorous, multi-layered screening and vetting process that includes biometric and biographic screenings conducted by intelligence, law enforcement, and counterterrorism professionals from multiple federal agencies. Afghan evacuees also receive critical vaccinations – which include measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), varicella, polio, COVID-19, and others – as a condition of their humanitarian parole. All OAW arrivals are tested for COVID-19.
Those who are interested in supporting the resettlement of vulnerable Afghans can go to www.welcome.us to learn more about how to get involved. Welcome.US is a national non-profit initiative to welcome and support Afghan nationals as they rebuild their lives in communities across America. Groups of individuals and community organizations can also apply to form a sponsor circle to directly support arriving Afghan evacuees. For more information on the Sponsor Circle Program and to learn how to apply to form a sponsor circle, visit www.sponsorcircles.org.
Operation Allies Welcome is the coordinated effort across the federal government to support and resettle vulnerable Afghans, including those who worked on behalf of the United States. For more information, visit www.dhs.gov/allieswelcome.